Future Hall of Famer Joe Cronin of the Boston Red Sox breaks his leg running the bases. The injury will influence him to retire as a major league player. Cronin will continue to serve the Red Sox as their manager. He will also later serve as AL President.
MLB owners approve one of the game’s most controversial rules: the designated hitter. The owners decide to allow American League teams to implement the rule on an experimental 3-year basis, but the rule becomes a permanent addition to the AL while the National League never adopts it.
1936 Tweaks to the game are nothing new. The American League (AL) approves night baseball for St. Louis. The National League adopts a new design for home plate. It will have beveled edges, the first change in 50 years. The AL also adopts a rule stating that no batter can be batting champion unless he has 400 or more at bats.
In the American League season opener at Detroit’s Bennett Park, the Tigers mount a monumental comeback to beat Milwaukee. Trailing 13-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers scored 10 runs for a 14-13 victory.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is the unanimous choice as American League Rookie of the Year. He is the eighth Yankees player to win the award and the fifth unanimous choice in American League history.
Sparky Lyle becomes the first American League relief pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Pitching for the New York Yankees, Lyle leads the league with 72 appearances, posting a 13-5 record with 26 saves and a 2.17 ERA.
Don Baylor (who passed away last week) of the Boston Red Sox set an American League record when he was hit by a pitch for the 25th time for the season, breaking the record he had shared with Bill Freehan (1968) and Kid Elberfeld (1911). He would finish the season with 35 HBP’s.